Department of Entomology Newsletter | Spring/Summer 2022

Bug Bites

Message from Department Head, Sujaya Rao

Sujaya Rao


Spring is a time for celebration, and this year we are back to celebrating in person! For the first time since the pandemic our graduate students and undergraduates in the Insect Science Minor were able to attend in-person commencements. It was also exciting to see the Borealis Night of Excellence and CFANS award winners be recognized in-person.

While celebrating our successes during the 4th annual UMN Ento Social we also paid tribute to beloved emeritus professor Ted Radcliffe. It was awesome seeing so many of his students and hearing about their many accomplishments. 

2022 is a year of change in the department with 3 faculty retirements so far and two upcoming by year-end, and the search for an Assistant Professor & Extension Entomology in Corn Entomology. 

Happy Reading! Have a great summer!


Congratulations to our 2021-2022 Graduates!

2021 Commencement Brochure

Tessa Durnin
James Menger
Spencer Stout
Henrique Vieira

Dominique Ebbenga
Mary Marek-Spartz
Dora Mwangola
Jake Wittman

Welcoming New Graduate Students

goldie welcome

M.S. Entomology
Pheylan Anderson
Isabell Dyrbye-Wright
Sarah Lisak
Maya Vellicolungara
Ph.D. Entomology
Sabrina Celis
Bryan Holt
Mauricio Ramirez Carmona  

M.S. in other programs, mentored by Entomology Faculty
Grace Graham - NRSM
Rose Picklo - NRSM

Insect Science Minor Spotlight

We might be biased, but undergraduate students in the Insect Science Minor program are some of the best at the University of Minnesota! For the first time in our program’s history, we are proud to announce that 11 students graduated in the 2021-2022 academic year with the addition of the Insect Science Minor on their transcripts! Our goal is to get students interested in insects and the increased enrollment in entomology courses and enrollment in, and graduation from, our program are signs of success. Students have diverse interests and busy schedules, and we continue to adapt our program to suit their needs by offering a diversity of courses taught by entomology faculty that are both in-person and delivered online. The online courses drew students from the Morris and Duluth campuses thanks to the Multi-Institution enrollment option now available at UMN. Access to the Minor will soon be enhanced with the new on-line Insect Science Minor in development. Stay tuned for details!

Recent Insect Science Minor Graduates: 
Hannah Bodmer (Biology, CBS) 
Hope Chappuis (Animal Science, CFANS)
Jay DeLacy (Plant & Microbial Biology; CBS)
Maxwell Fuecker (Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior; CBS)
Owen Greir (Plant Science; CFANS)
Elizabeth Grove (Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management; CFANS)
Maxwell Gudmunsen (Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management; CFANS)
Emma Hatton (Psychology; CLA)
Emily Klesel (Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management; CFANS)
Katie Krotts (Plant Science; CFANS)
Ben Ziegler (Plant Science; CFANS)

Reflections by recent Insect Science Minor graduates:

Katie Krotts 

Katie Krotts


I’m Katie and just graduated with a major in plant science and minor in insect science. I decided to minor in insect science after learning more about the different interactions between insects and plants in some of my plant science courses. I also thought that an insect science minor would help me understand a more integrated view of how our ecosystems work, instead of focusing on just one aspect of the ecosystem.

Throughout my time in the minor, I really enjoyed learning more about the importance of pollinators and how they affect our overall environment and food systems. One of my favorite experiences was to explore the bee lab on campus because it helped me understand more about how a honey bee colony functions and how the hive is built. After graduation, I will be working as a professional gardener for a local landscaping/ gardening company where I hope to learn more about local insects and plants!”

Hannah Bodmer

Hannah Bodmer

“I’ve wanted to be an entomologist since I was in first grade, and all of my experiences in the Insect Science minor have gotten me closer to that goal! I was able to join multiple entomology labs, volunteer in the insect collection, participate in many outreach events, and to attend a few scientific conferences to present my research! I also loved all of the classes I took, and I’m very grateful for all of the relationships I’ve made with other students and faculty in the department. This summer, I’ll be looking for graduate programs to continue my education in aquatic entomology!”

Insect Science Pathways Scholarship

Thank you to everyone who so generously responded when we announced our Insect Science Pathways Scholarship last year. We started this fund to increase student diversity in our Insect Science Minor.

Our first recipient, Munira Adan, a student from the College of Liberal Arts, has just completed her junior year and we are looking forward to finding the scholarship recipient for the 2022-2023 school year. 

The Department's goal is to increase the fund in order to award larger, or more, scholarships as time goes on. If you would like to make a gift to see more students like Munira become part of the entomology community, please make an online gift here.

Give to the Insect Science Pathways Scholarship today! 

Achievements & Honors

ESA medals

Congratulations to faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students, and alumni who received ESA promotions, scholarships, awards, student competition prizes, and other honors! 


  • Promotion
    Dr. Matt Petersen - promoted from Teaching Assistant Professor to Teaching Associate Professor
  • CFANS Borealis Awards: Exemplary Faculty (less than 5 years)
    Dr. Amelia Lindsey
  • NCB-ESA Excellence in Early Career Award
    Dr. Amelia Lindsey

Staff & Post-Docs 

  • Frenatate FAME (faculty award for mentorship in entomology)
    Dr. Robin Thomson
  • CFANS Civil Service/Bargaining Unit Staff Award: Administrative
    Tammi Pekkala Matthews
  • CFANS Borealis Awards: Exemplary Staff 
    Tammi Pekkala Matthews
  • CFANS Borealis Awards: Exemplary Post-Doc 
    Dr. Benjamin Cull

Graduate Students


  • Marion Brooks-Wallace Scholarship
    Laura Fricke
  •  Morris and Elaine Soffer Rockstein Scholarship
    Maggie Shanahan (PhD category)
    August Kramer (MS category)
  • Dr. Allan G. Peterson Scholarship
    Chan Dolan
  • Student Impact Award from the Institute on the Environment and the Office of Sustainability
    Chan Dolan
  • Bell Natural History Awards through the Dayton Fund
    Julia Brokaw 

NCB-ESA Competitions

  • Student Competition Poster: B.S.
    Adam Schacherer, mentored by Matt Petersen, third place
  • Student Competition, 10 min Paper B.S.
    Chloe R Weingarten, Mayo High School, Rochester, MN, mentored by Sally Nelson and Bill Hutchison, first place (tie)
  • Student Competition 10-Minute Paper: M.S. Session 1
    Gloria Melotto, second place (tie)
  • Student Competition 10-Minute Paper: M.S. Session 2
    Adam Toninato, third place
  • Student Competition 10-Minute Paper: Ph.D. Session 1 (MUVE, SysEB, PBT)
    Tina Lozano, third place
  • Student Competition 10-Minute Paper: Ph.D. Session 3 (P-IE)
    Hailey Shanovich, third place
  • Entomology Games 
    Hailey Shanovich, Laura Fricke, Megan Jones, & Emily Althoff (UMN Team), won the first preliminary round


  • NCB-ESA John Henry Comstock Award
    Dr. Anh Tran, ISK Biosciences, Concord, Ohio. 
  • PB Award for Excellence in IPM
    Dr. Jana Lee, USDA-ARS, Corvallis, OR

Alumni Spotlight

Anh K. Tran


Anh Tran award

Anh Tran (left) is the recipient of the 2022 NCB ESA John Henry Comstock Award. Congratulations, Anh!

Anh is currently the insecticide product development manager at ISK Biosciences located in Concord, Ohio. She is responsible for developing current and upcoming chemistries across the United States and Canada. In addition, she provides technical support for ISK Biosciences insecticide products.

Anh completed a M.S. (2016) and Ph.D. (2021) from the Department of Entomology. Anh’s M.S. was under the guidance of Robert (Bob) Koch studying conservation biological control of the soybean aphid. Anh was co-advised by Sujaya Rao and Mary Rogers for her Ph.D. and the dissertation focused on investigating spotted-wing drosophila ability to overwinter or perform long-distance dispersal to survive in cold regions. Prior to her graduate career, Anh received a B.A. from Hiram College in 2011, and then worked for EnviroScience, an environmental consultant company based at Stow, Ohio. At EnviroScience Anh helped rear and release milfoil weevils as a biocontrol agent against Eurasian watermilfoil throughout North America. Anh then relocated to Minnesota and worked in George Heimpel’s lab as a research assistant before starting graduate school.

Anh Tran

While at UMN, Anh was an active member of the department, community and with the Entomological Society of America (ESA). She held numerous leadership positions with Frenatae serving as Media Coordinator, Secretary, Vice President, and President and frequently co-led outreach programs with other students. At ESA, Anh participated in the Entomology Games, Student Debates, and was elected as the Student Representative of the Plant-Insect Ecosystem (P-IE) Governing Board in 2018. Anh is currently on several different committees at ESA such as the Better Common Names Project, Common Names Committee, P-IE Awards Committee, P-IE Communication Committee, and was recently elected as the North Central Branch Early-Career Professional Chair to the Executive Board. In 2021, Anh was recognized for her leadership achievements with the President’s Student Leadership & Service Award, the highest student honor at UMN, and for the College’s Borealis Graduate Student Leadership Award.

Aside from entomology related activities, Anh is an avid runner, yogi, and neophyte rock climber. She has served as a mentor for Mile in My Shoes, a Minneapolis-based program centered on building community and creating lifelong runners.

We wish Anh the very best in her professional and personal accomplishments!


Congratulations on their Retirements


Ken Ostlie

Dr. Ken Ostlie joined the Department of Entomology as Assistant Professor and Extension Entomologist in 1984, and retired on January 31, 2022.  During his time at UMN, his research and extension activities were focused on insect pests of corn and soybean from an integrated pest management (IPM) perspective with integration of insect ecology, management tactics (transgenic crops, insecticides, cultural practices and biological control), and applied management strategies He mentored 8 MS and 3 PhD students. 

Hear about Dr. Ostlie's exciting career at UMN in the podcast by Dr. Anthony Hanson: a retrospective on 38 years of corn entomology


David Andow

Dr. David Andow joined the Department of Entomology as Assistant Professor in 1984 and retired on May 29, 2022.  A Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Dr. Andow was elected as an ESA Fellow in 2019. His research was focused on insect population and community ecology, risk assessment of invasive species and genetic engineering, and management of resistance in insects. During his UMN career he served as the Advisor/co-Advisor for 7 M.S. and 10 Ph.D. students.



Tim Kurtti

Dr. Tim Kurtti joined the Department of Entomology as Assistant Professor in 1986 and retired on June 19, 2022. He is an alum (PhD 1974) of the department. As a faculty member , Dr. Kurtti’s his research was focused on  ticks - Lyme disease spirochetes in ticks, the relationships of endosymbionts of ticks to pathogens transmitted by ticks, transgenesis and paratransgenesis, functional genomics, and microbial control of ticks.  He served as an Advisor/co-Advisor for 7 MS and 7 PhD students. 


Thank you Ken, Dave and Tim for your many contributions to Entomology and the Department. Happy Retirement!

Prof. Uli Munderloh and Prof. Ralph Holzenthal will be retiring at the end of 2022. 

Stay tuned for information on opportunities to congratulate all those retired and retiring in 2022, celebrate their careers and wish them well in their retirement! 

In Memoriam - Ted Radcliffe

Honoring and Remembering Dr. Edward (Ted) Radcliffe, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Entomology. 

Ted Radcliffe

Professor Edward “Ted” Radcliffe passed away peacefully at home on January 17, 2022. A pioneer in integrated pest management, Ted authored 138 research publications and advised 38 graduate students over 46 years of faculty service.

Video link to the tribute to Ted during the 4th UMN Ento Alumni Social held on April 1 2022, which includes stories about Ted shared by his students, friends, colleagues, collaborators, and stakeholders. 

The family prefers that memorials are sent to the Lugger-Radcliffe Fellowship Fund, Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota.

Read more - Obituary.


Virtual UMN ENTO Alumni Social

UMN Ento Alumni Social

The 4th UMN Ento Alumni Social held on April 1 2022 featured UMN Entomology successes and achievements, Munira Adan, the first first recipient of the New Insect Science Pathways Scholarship and Robin Thomson, Curator of the Insect Collection, recipient of the prestigious NSF Career Award. It also included a wonderful tribute to Emeritus Professor Edward (Ted) Radcliffe. Family, friends and students shared their experiences/interactions with Ted. 

Department in-person social get together

After a long winter of remote meetings and quarantined interactions, our students, faculty, and staff were ready to emerge from diapause and celebrate with each other in-person. We enjoyed each other’s company, ice cream, and good conversations! 

In the News 

Insect Collection

Bitten by the Bug: Robin Thomson spends her days surrounded by 4 million dead insects.

University of Minnesota home to millions of insect specimens

Forest Entomology

Saving Nutella: New Guide Details IPM for Weevil Pests in Hazelnut

Effective Management Remains Elusive for Beetle That Eats Almost Anything

Expecting the mountain pine beetle

Candy-striped leafhopper - Trevor Edmonson

Check out the latest Small Wonder, the candy-striped leafhopper, Graphocephala coccinea.

Small Wonders is a regular feature that profiles insects and other arthropods found in Minnesota. These are intended to inform our citizens, and generate interest in entomology! 


Alumni, get involved! The UMN Alumni Association recently developed and funded the Maroon and Gold Network, a free, online platform for career-related advice and networking that has grown to more than 5,000 alumni and students in 44 countries and 46 states plus Washington DC! 

Join The Maroon & Gold Network today!

Support Us

Your support will help us achieve our mission of providing world-leading research and education that inspires society to value the environmental contributions of insects and their relatives, and to use best management practices to protect our food, health, and environment.

Donate here

Thank you to all donors and their support of our faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students. 

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